Chicago’s Travel Advisory Updated to Include Every State Except Vermont | Chicago News

(WTTW News)(WTTW News)

Vermont is the only state not covered by the city’s COVID-19 travel advisory, as the surge of COVID-19 driven by the delta variant of the virus shows no sign of slowing.

In all, the advisory covers 48 states as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands, according to an announcement from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office. 

Unvaccinated visitors to Chicago from those states are urged to quarantine for 10 days or record a negative test for the coronavirus within 72 hours of their arrival, officials said.

Families with children younger than 12, who are not eligible for the vaccine, should not travel during the Labor Day holiday, said Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.

In addition, unvaccinated travelers should get tested three to five days before they leave on their trip as well as three to five days after they return, according to new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Even if they test negative, they should self-quarantine for seven days. Those who don’t take a test should quarantine for 10 days after travel, according to the new guidance.

Unvaccinated travelers should avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, even with a negative test, according to the new guidance.

The city’s travel order, first implemented in July 2020, did not include any states as of June 1 as vaccination efforts tamped down new infections and spurred reopenings across the United States. On June 29, officials announced the order would become an advisory, as COVID-19 cases remained low across the nation.

However, progress in stopping COVID-19 infections has been reversed with the spread of the more transmissible delta variant of the virus, officials said. 

Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Washington, D.C., and Guam were added to the travel advisory Tuesday.

Vermont is the only state where the confirmed number of new COVID-19 cases is less than 15 per day per 100,000 residents, the standard for states and territories to be added to the travel advisory, Chicago officials said.

Chicago is averaging 17.2 new cases per day per 100,000 residents. Illinois is averaging 22 cases per day, according to data from the Chicago Department of Public Health.

An average of 467 Chicagoans have been diagnosed each day with the coronavirus during the past week, a 1% increase from the previous week, according to Chicago Department of Public Health data.

That flattening in new confirmed COVID-19 cases is due to an increase in people wearing masks in indoor public places, Arwady said. City officials recommended that everyone, regardless of their vaccination status, wear masks indoors on July 30, and ordered everyone to wear a mask indoors on Aug. 20.

Since the mask order went back into effect, 16 businesses have been cited for flouting the order, city officials said.

The city’s test positivity rate is 4.3%, down from 4.5% from past week, while the number of tests dropped 1% to an average of approximately 12,000 per day, according to city data.  

Daily hospitalizations have fallen by 24% in the past seven days, and 60.8% of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to city data.

Daily vaccinations have risen 15% since the end of July, Arwady said.

No one was cited for violating the travel order, which could have triggered fines of $100 to $500 per day for a maximum fine of $7,000, according to the mayor’s office. 

City officials said the advisory is designed to be part of a COVID-19 education campaign.

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]